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Debt-Free Living

Pet Owners, Don’t Forget to Budget for These 5 Expenses

When Winston and I were expecting our first child, a lot of people told us our dog would become our second priority when the little one got here.

Well, that’s somewhat true, but I must say that our dog is still a really big deal in our house. We love our little Nala! She still sleeps in the bed with us almost every night!

The American Pet Products Association (APPA) estimates that Americans spent more than $60 billion on pets in 2016. That’s billion with a B! $60 BILLION!(1)

Don’t go into debt for your pets!

We love our pets, don’t we?

When it comes to budgeting for your pets, you’ll want to think about these five categories.

  1. Food. Well, obviously.
  2. Grooming. Unless you’re prepping your dog for the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, a regular grooming appointment will do. It’s fine to spend a little extra and pamper your pooch with a fancy oatmeal bath if it’s in the budget, but if you’re still paying off debt, then stick to a basic groom and cut. Most professionals recommend grooming every six weeks. And if you have a fish, well, no grooming bill for you!
  3. Toys and accessories. This would be a dog or cat bed, a litter box, or a secured glass box for that boa constrictor. You can even find subscription services that will deliver new pet toys every month!
  4. Medical. Keep your furry friends up to date on their shots and veterinarian visits. You don’t want to go cheap on a necessary vaccination, only to have your little buddy get sick and have to pay even more medical costs. Most vets will work with you on cost.
  5. Miscellaneous. For example, let’s say your puppy chews up a bunch of underground cords on your landscape lighting—that would be an unplanned for expense. Yes, we saved up for months for that lighting and little Nala tore it all up in one day! This might also include a pet sitter or boarding for a weekend trip or vacation. That could be a big chunk of your vacation budget, so plan for it!

The biggest point is this: Don’t go into debt for your pets! And if you have to use your emergency fund, make sure it’s a true emergency—holiday sweaters for your toy poodle don’t count.

With summer almost here, it’s the perfect time to get outside and play with your pets. Keep these expenses in mind and both you and your lovable pet will be happy!

Budgeting for your furry companion is easy in EveryDollar, and it only takes 10 minutes to create your first budget! Start budgeting (It’s Free!)

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  • Marta Ball

    I have an envelope for my pets. My dogs need food, heartworm preventative, flea collars, regular checkups, etc. My bird needs food, my saltwater aquarium and freshwater aquariums need fish food, other additives, etc. So many expenses with pets!

  • Scout706

    Nala is a cat name!

  • Karina

    I have pet insurance with nationawide and it was the smartest decision i made. Initially I pay for all until I reach the $250 deductible, then they pay 90% and i only pay 10% of anything, it even includes any illnesses that arise like cancer. I highly recommend it.